Senior Spotlight: #22 Brielle Leon
A Place To Call Home
By Cassi White, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. La Quinta, California. East Lansing, Michigan. Three places that are near and dear to Brielle Leon's heart. Three places that have very little in common, but Leon loves for the same reason: family.
Leon's grandparents emigrated from Mexico to the United States in search of better opportunities for the future.
"For me, my brother and my sister, we're just really thankful for them and thankful that we were able to come here and do what we do," Leon explained. "For me, when it comes to school and soccer, I'm just really thankful to be here."
Being that family is a priority for her, she makes frequent trips to Mexico for family reunions. Even though her grandparents' move to the United States was quite possibly the best thing that happened to her and her family, Mexico is where her roots are, a place to call home.
When Leon was four years old, she moved from a small area outside of Orange County, California, to La Quinta, California, located in the Coachella Valley. La Quinta is where she was raised--another place to call home.
"That's where my family is. That's where my friends are. That's where I grew up. That's my hometown," Leon said. "I like to think that coming out here (Michigan State) has been good representation of it. Or I'm trying to represent the Coachella Valley in the best way possible."
Her parents and siblings have been extremely supportive throughout her entire soccer career, but especially with her recruiting process at Michigan State.
"My parents have been able to come out and visit and see me play a couple of times which was awesome. My parents came to pretty much every single game growing up and throughout high school, so being away definitely makes them sad," Leon explained.
Sending your child off to college is hard enough for parents, let alone sending them to a school that's 2,199 miles away. But, back in 2013 when Leon stepped foot on campus, there was no way they could stop her from calling this new place home.
"The campus was nothing like I'd ever seen. It was so big and green and beautiful. I knew I would get to experience fall and winter, which is something I never had before. It's one of the reasons I like it here so much," Leon said of Michigan State.
When she visited with the coaches and players, she was immediately treated like a part of the family. The term "Spartan Family" is used when discussing the Michigan State women's soccer team. Leon was instantly welcomed into that "Spartan Family" and that was another reason she decided to don the Green and White for the next four years.
Once she got here, she was not only a part of the women's soccer family, but the entire family that encompasses the student body at Michigan State University as well.
"I have this whole school of undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni that I get to represent. Along with that, it just means a lot to me to be able to represent my state and my community as a Spartan," Leon smiled.
She describes being a Spartan and getting to wear her jersey as an "honor" and a "privilege."
"Being a Spartan just solidifies everything that I've grown up to learn from my parents," she said. "It just means the world to me that I can go back to California or anywhere inside and outside the U.S. and wear the Spartan head on my chest and feel pride from it. I love that people recognize it and they say, `Go green!' and I always say, `Go white!'"